I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I’m at best a Firefox apologist, and at worst a rabid fan of the browser. That doesn’t mean that I’m unwilling to call out Mozilla and the Firefox team for some of their dumb decisions. Moving to a release cycle akin to Chrome’s was a dumb decision, but we’re living with it and Firefox might be starting to benefit from it. Another gripe I have is that the desktop and mobile experience feel so different, but that won’t be the case for much longer.
Madhava Enros of Mozilla recently gave a talk at the Firefox Toronto Workweek on how the team is planning on making a single user experience across both Firefox and Firefox Mobile. It’s a pretty ambitious plan only because you usually have to cut corners on the mobile versions of software. The design they have cooked up is pretty interesting as well.
The mobile version of Firefox was the first to be shown off. The design is a far cry from what I use now on my phone. It has softer edges with actual on screen tabs. No more will I have to slide to the left to look at the currently open tabs in Firefox Mobile.
The desktop design is called Australis and it simplifies the design down to a Web browser that looks a lot like Chrome. Firefox has been slowly moving that way for a while now with the simplification and consolidation of multiple options into a single button. Australis just takes it to the next logical step.
We also heard word a while ago that Firefox was working on a Windows 8 Metro version of Firefox. Enros’ presentation gives us our first look at how the Windows 8 Firefox browser will look. It definitely has a large focus on touch since most early users of Windows 8 are probably going to be tablet users with touch screens.
The new consolidated design doesn’t stop at desktop and browser as the team is also redesigning its developer tools. There’s going to be new designs for all the developer tools that you’ve come to know and love that will hopefully make the user experience more refined.
Firefox will also be rolling out its Persona application with the new design that allows users to sign in to Firefox for a personalized experience. There were multiple slides that showed mockups of what the sign in process will look like. From the slides shown, we can gather that Persona is going to be just like the current Firefox sync. By using Persona, you can share your tabs, bookmarks and preferences across all versions of Firefox.
All of these different designs and applications have a Kilimanjaro rating. Think of it as Mozilla’s rating system for where they see their products fitting into their concept of Web standards and services. The higher the rating shows that an application is on its way to fulfilling that goal.
Here’s the entirety of the slide presentation. Enros promises that a vide of the talk is coming soon. Until then, just pretend that you can hear somebody talking about the new design while you’re checking it out. I think you’ll be impressed by the new look that Mozilla is going for, even if some people are going to cry that it’s just another step towards copying Chrome.
[h/t: Ars Technica]